A Look Inside The Apple iPhone 13 Pro

Design wins, image sensors, and the application processor in Apple’s latest smartphone.


By Stacy Wegner, Daniel Yang, and Ziad Shukry

We received the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro in our labs and identification and early costing analysis are available below.

The phone models we are discussing today are the Apple iPhone 13 Pro, model A2636, 256GB and the Apple iPhone 13, model A2631 256GB.

Apple iPhone 13 Pro cost analysis

We have completed the QTT cost analysis and estimate the sub-6 GHz iPhone 13 Pro A2636 has a higher build cost when compared to last year’s iPhone 12 Pro A2341 mmWave model. The increased total cost is due to the higher estimated costs for the A15 processor, NAND memory, the display subsystem price, and an increase in the main enclosure cost, which impacted the total non-electronic cost. We also compared the new iPhone 13 Pro with the competitive sub-6 GHz Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G mobile phone (normalizing the NAND size to 256 GB).

Chart 1: Estimated costing analysis.

Apple iPhone 13 Pro A2636 256GB design wins

We have identified several of the different components inside the iPhone 13 Pro. Apple continues to include their own chips, with the A15, the Audio Codec and the Audio Amplifiers. Qualcomm leads the RF design wins, and we are seeing a number of design wins from the usual suspects: KIOXIA, NXP, STMicroelectronics, USI, Qorvo, and Broadcom.

Fig. 1: Apple iPhone Pro board shot.

Fig. 2: Apple iPhone Pro board shot.

Fig. 3: Apple iPhone Pro board shot.

Apple A15 Bionic application processor

The Apple A15 Bionic from both the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 has the same Apple part number APL1W07. In the iPhone 13 Pro A2636 model we have torn down, it is a Package on Package (PoP) with both the A15 Application Processor and SK Hynix LPDDR4X SDRAM (H9HKNNNEDMMVHR-NEH). This 6 GB LPDDR4X SDRAM consists of four pieces of SK Hynix’s 12 Gb 1y nm die.

Although Apple stated that the GPU core is different, the two A15 Bionic APL1W07 from both iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 has the same die marks TMMU71, and same die size (die seal edge): 8.58mm x 12.55mm = 107.68 mm2, representing a 22.82% die size increase when compared to the previous A14. When we have further lab results, we will confirm our suspicions that Apple has approached GPU cores the same way this year as they did in the A12Z and A12X last year. We addressed these differences last year in the A12Z blog post.

Fig. 4: Sourced from Apple’s website, details on the A15 showing a 5-core GPU, as well as different details on the A15, with a 4-core GPU.

Fig. 5: Package photo of the A15 Bionic Application Processor.

Fig. 6: Die markings on the A15 are TMMU71 in both versions we have seen so far, from the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro.

Apple iPhone 13 & iPhone 13 Pro image sensors

While other leading smartphone makers adopt larger resolutions for both front and rear cameras, Apple maintains a 12 MP resolution for all their image sensors and this strategy continues in the iPhone 13 series.

The main upgrade Apple implemented on the iPhone 13 series compared to the iPhone 12 models, is the use of a larger pixel-pitch on the Wide rear cameras to improve low light sensitivity, as reported during the September 14th Apple event.

For the iPhone 13 rear Wide cam, the pixel-pitch has been confirmed to be 1.7 µm, increased from 1.4 µm on the iPhone 12. This represents an increase of 47% in the pixel area and active array size over the iPhone 12 model. That said, Apple did utilize 1.7 µm pixel-pitch image sensor last year in the iPhone 12 Pro Max rear Wide cam and it is very likely that the same CIS Die has been re-purposed for the rear Wide cam in the iPhone 13.

Fig. 7: Apple iPhone 13 Pro rear camera.

Fig. 8: Apple iPhone 13 Pro rear camera X-ray.

Fig. 9: Apple iPhone 13 Pro rear camera die photo.

For the iPhone 13 Pro, the rear Wide camera incorporates a new CIS Die with a pixel-pitch of 1.9 µm, up from 1.4 µm pixel in the iPhone 12 Pro. This represents an 84% increase in pixel-pitch and active array area, and the largest expected enhancement of low light sensitivity for the iPhone 13 series. This new Wide cam Die (likely in use in the iPhone 13 Pro Max as well), is the largest Image Sensor in the iPhone 13 lineup, having a Die area of just under 62 mm2. It also incorporates the same masked PDAF approach used in their earlier image sensors, with equally spaced, left and right alternating masked PDAF pixels in the vertical and horizontal axes of the image array, to facilitate autofocus in the X- and Y-directions.

The Ultrawide rear camera on the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro, as well as the Telephoto camera on the iPhone 13 Pro, appear to utilize the same Die, a newly redesigned image sensor with a 1.0 µm pixel-pitch with an estimated Die area of 26 mm2. This is slightly smaller than their predecessors in the iPhone 12 models, having an estimated Die area of 32 mm2.

The Lidar Camera on the iPhone 13 Pro (and 13 Pro Max) utilize the same SPAD array introduced last year, first on the iPad Pro, then in iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max models. This is somewhat expected, as the 3D rear camera market is still evolving without a dominant use case to drive a design revision.

For the TrueDepth front camera in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro, it utilizes the same CIS Die as previously used in the in iPhone 12 models, a 12 MP 1.0 µm pixel-pitch image sensor.

The front camera module package has been redesigned in the iPhone 13 series so that the IR camera is moved to the right side of the notch, co-located and integrated with the IR projector in one package. The TrueDepth CIS has been moved to the left of the notch, as shown in the figure below, showing a comparison between the front cam modules of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13.

Fig. 10: Apple iPhone 12 and 13 front camera view.

And finally, while the front-facing IR-Proximity in the iPhone 13 has been previously observed in use, the Ambient Light Sensor in the iPhone 13 series has been determined to a new component from STMicroelectronics.

Fig. 11: STMicroelectronics Ambient Light Sensor.

Fig. 12: STMicroelectronics Ambient Light Sensor.

Qorvo QM81030 Envelope Power Tracker

We found a two Qorvo QM81030 envelope power trackers, which are the same part numbers we identified in last year’s iPhone 12 phones. However, in regards to the QM81030 on the iPhone 13 Pro, the X-Ray appears to show a different component design than the QM81030 used in the Apple iPhone 12 phones. Furthermore, the die found in this year’s iPhone 13 has a different package and die markings which supports the dies are different part numbers, or at least, different revisions of a die design.

Fig. 13: Qorvo QM81030 differences seen between iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro.

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